Quebec Judge Says Flipping Someone Off Is A 'God-Given' Right For 'Every Red-Blooded Canadian'

"Being told to 'f[***] off' should not prompt a call to 9-1-1."

Senior Editor
The courthouse in Old Montreal.

The courthouse in Old Montreal.

Life, liberty... and the ability to tell your neighbour to eff off. In a wacky story first reported by the Canadian Press, a Quebec judge has issued a blistering rebuke of a Beaconsfield man who pressed charges against his neighbour after he raised his middle finger.

In his decision acquitting the neighbour of all charges, Judge Dennis Galiatsatos called "flipping the proverbial bird" a "God-given, Charter enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian."

"It may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly. Nevertheless, it does not trigger criminal liability," he continued.

"Offending someone is not a crime. It is an integral component of one’s freedom of expression."

Judge Galiatsatos said he wished he could "actually take the [case] and throw it out the window."

The dispute between Michael Naccache and his neighbour Neall Epstein is rooted in a March 2021 incident in which Epstein's children were playing in the street, much to the annoyance of the Naccache family.

Naccache recounted a subsequent series of incidents in which he claimed Epstein was observing or covertly filming his house and family. Their animosity came to a head in a non-physical May 2021 altercation in which Epstein displayed his middle fingers.

Naccache claimed Epstein made a "throat-slashing gesture" in the process. Police arrested Epstein for uttering death threats.

But Judge Galiatsatos was having none of it. He described Naccache as having a "penchant for exaggeration and misrepresentation," and dismissed many of his claims about Epstein's actions.

"His characterization of the accused’s behaviour was grossly inaccurate," the judge wrote in his decision. "Even mundane actions by Epstein, such as taking a walk with his young children, was described by Naccache as an act of confrontation, if not an all-out aggression."

Instead, Galiatsatos reprimanded members of the Naccache family for, on two occasions, failing to slow down when driving past children on their street.

"Citizens are to be thicker-skinned, especially when they behave in ways that are highly likely to trigger such profanity – like driving too fast on a street where innocent kids are playing," the judge wrote.

"Being told to 'f[***] off' should not prompt a call to 9-1-1."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas is MTL Blog's Senior Editor. He lives in Saint-Henri and loves it so much that he named his cat after it. On weekdays, he's publishing stories, editing and helping to manage MTL Blog's team of amazing writers. His beats include the STM, provincial and municipal politics and Céline Dion. On weekends, you might run into him brunching at Greenspot, walking along the Lachine Canal or walking Henri the cat in Parc Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier.
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